Lifestyle Economics

Laughing gas ban another case of excessive ‘safetyism’


In the Media

Prof. Len Shackleton writes in CapX

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In the Media

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Harrison Griffiths writes in CapX

IEA Communications Officer Harrison Griffiths has written in CapX criticising the government’s proposed ban on recreational Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas).

Harrison wrote:

“Laughing gas was associated with six deaths in 2021 and a total of 62 since 2001. Each of those deaths is a tragedy, without doubt. But as the independent Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs argued just last month, prohibition is a totally disproportionate response. Especially so when you consider how many fewer deaths are associated with laughing gas than alcohol (9,641 in 2021) or even paracetamol (277 in 2021) – or, for that matter, day-to-day activities like driving a car (1,608 in 2021). Nor is it even clear that the reported deaths are directly due to laughing gas, or to other substances or activity engaged in at the same time.

“Police are already overstretched and failing to perform core tasks like preventing theft and prosecuting rape cases. Is sending them after groups of kids with balloons and whipped cream canisters really the best use of scarce resources?

“There is nothing benign or innocent about excessive safetyism in our society: it leads to tangible bad outcomes like those which accompany drug prohibition, while undermining individuals’ ability to live free lives and evaluate their own risks.

“Sadly, this government is utterly beholden to the voices which urge us to panic about every potential danger lurking round the corner, as evidenced by their approach to regulating everything from food and drugs, to financial markets and the internet.”

Read the full article here.